Check out Brett Manning’s mouth

Brett and his associates don’t talk much about your mouth or your soft palate, but take a look at him here.

Do you see his teeth and the wide smile? I love this! This is exactly the placement for singing high notes, regardless of the style (unless you are singing opera or classical). This wide smile and lifted upper mouth allows the vowels to resonate cleanly and nicely in the head voice.

Also, note the sob (moan), and “cry” to his voice. This is essential for good vocal cord closure.

Try it! Don’t sing too loud. Just allow those high notes to blend with the low ones, and VOILA!

More on rock singing…..

My last post told you of the set-up in the voice box that is ideal for singing rock music. So what differentiates a good rock singer from being just-OK?

The answer is control! Most amateurs are squeezing out their sound in an attempt to sound “big”. When a singer is in control of all the fine details of the sounds he is making, the listener will be engulfed by how “large” the sound is when the “effort” is in the correct place.

Thyroid Tilting

The ability to tilt the thyroid cartilage will give the listener the illusion of “chest voice power”. Tilting will help the singer to bridge to their head voice with pharyngeal and mouth resonance. To achieve ideal conditions and optimum resonance in the head voice, the cords need to stretch (lengthen) and thin.

The puppy dog whimper is a good indicator (if you are doing it correctly) as to whether you are tilting well. The cords must stay together as you practise! Too much air will blow the cords apart too much. You should feel this “whimper-like cry” behind your upper teeth or behind the nose. Some describe it as starting at the back of the throat and carrying through the head voice area. Pay attention to making it as buzzy and light as you can. This means you are working the inner edges of the cords. The ability to do this without flipping (cords blowing apart) above your first passagio is very difficult. Master the delicateness of this and you will see your control improve instantly. (Alter your volume to find the balance where you can maintain this sound). Start small and light and achieve control of the detail).

To help keep your cords thin, add a “cry” to the onset of your sound. This moves the larynx up slightly, so be careful to know that you are tilting as well. The “whimper” and the “cry” in your head voice will set you up nicely for thyroid tilt and cord thinning.

Do you have any questions? Please let me know. More later on another very important component of the voice when singing rock……TWANG!!

Why not give it a “cry”

This amazing little coordination can do wonders for your voice. You will notice that if your habit is to sing too loud, it will automatically take you back to a volume where you can manage this sensation. What sensation you say? The sensation of a cry…..or a moan…..or a sob……or all three!

First, the “cry” is doing something very helpful to the vocal folds by “thinning” and “stretching” them. It is helpful to be able to control your air through this vocal cord set up because you helps you sing higher pitches without flipping into falcetto. You can also get this sensation by doing a high pitch puppy dog whimper.

Second, add the  “moan” or “groan” sensation with the “cry” and you get the added benefit of keeping a neutral larynx. Sometimes the “cry” sound makes you raise your larynx too much, which can block the sound and create tension and tightness in the throat. This is not ideal. Instead, try an even balance of the “cry” with a “moan” or “sob” feeling. This is a great way to learn how to sing higher in your mix. Don’t push it. Feel the balance and practise at a volume that you can manage through your entire range.

Questions? Why not drop me a line!

Singers, have you slipped?

I haven’t been vocalizing near as much as I should be. I was very motivated at Christmas through to March break; doing my exercises, soaring through my bridges every day. It felt good, I was crooning!

The last couple of months I’ve been busier. Spring is here and I like to get outside in the garden, and take the dogs for a walk. It’s my favourite time of year. The days just fly by.

Yikes! My voice is paying the price. I did a gig yesterday and I noticed the setback. I was specifically having trouble accessing my head voice resonance as I was bridging through my first passagio.

Luckily I knew the steps to take straight away to get back on track. I focused on taking deeper breaths and engaging the abdominal muscles; I backed off on my volume a bit to the point where my vocal cords were “lighter” and I could handle the air pressure enough to focus on my “cry” and onset of each phrase.

If I was in better vocal shape setting out yesterday, my usual warm-up before a booking would have set me up well with the coordination necessary to get the “cry” and “twang” necessary to bridge through my first passagio with ease.

Once I settled in to the “rhythm” where my vocal cords, breath and body were in sync with each other, I was then able to focus on the bigger picture…..the dynamics, the resonance and vocal effects……and of course, the audience!

So, today I’ll vocalize for two sets of 20 minutes, or maybe longer depending on how it feels. I will do this daily (very focused) until I feel I’m back at the top of my game. Then it will be OK to take a day off once in awhile!